Residential sales plummeted by more than 50% annually during the market lockdown, HMRC data reveals.
The taxman has published its monthly transaction figures for April, giving an early indication of how the market fared since restrictions were imposed on sales between the end of March and mid-May.
The figures are based on Stamp Duty returns, which can be filed up to two weeks after completion so the actual numbers may be slightly higher.
The data suggests that the number of seasonally adjusted residential sales fell by 53.4% annually and declined 46.1% on a monthly basis to 46,440 in April.
The figures are unsurprisingly the lowest on record.
Northern Ireland fared the worst, with sales down 79.2% annually, followed by a 67.1% drop in Scotland and 55.7% in Wales.
England, which has subsequently eased property market restrictions, saw sales decline by 54.9% during April.
Commenting on the data, John Phillips, national operations director at broker Just Mortgages, said: “It comes as no surprise to see that property transactions have basically been cut in half since the onset of Covid-19.
“But seeing these figures in black and white really does bring home the scale of the impact.
“In recent weeks we have started to see the sector returning to work and the early evidence is that activity is rapidly rising again.
“Just as with Brexit, people are fed up with having their lives put on hold and now the restrictions on movement are being eased, I believe we will see many people anxious to get on with long-planned house moves.
“As people have got used to remote working, there may even be a boost with more people looking to up sticks and live further away from their usual place of work.
“There is still a long way to go before this crisis is over but I’m confident that we are through the worst.”